Asia Minute: New Global Federation for Esports

Dec 17, 2019

Video gaming has hit a new milestone this week. Esports are already a competitive venture at many high schools and universities — including here in Hawai’i. But now, there’s a new global governing body for the sport headquartered in Asia.

The Global E-Sports Federation was launched in Singapore Monday promising to be “the voice and authority for the worldwide e-sports movement.”

The President of the group, Chris Chan, is also the secretary-general of Singapore’s National Olympic Council.

E-sports are not part of the Olympic games — although there have been discussions.

Chan called e-sports “misunderstood” and said the federation’s goal is to “bring some recognition and legitimacy to the sport” as well as reaching out “to all the stakeholders involved in e-sports.” That includes the International E-sports Federation, which has been around for more than a decade, based in South Korea.

A founding partner of the new federation is the Chinese corporate technology company Tencent, which has had an online gaming division for 16 years, and holds ownership stakes in many video game companies — including the developer of the popular “Fortnite.”

While e-sports are not part of the Olympics, they are a frequent feature of other international competitions. That includes the recently completed South East Asian Games — where organizers say online viewing of esports surpassed some of the traditional sports.

According to the marking consultancy Newzoo, the global esports market is expected to surpass a billion dollars this year — up some 27% from just a year ago.